A bill working its way through Congress could generate more than $30-dollars to improve Iowa’s schools. The federal legislation of more than $6 billion would promote the construction and renovation of schools in environmentally friendly ways. Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack is sponsoring the bill.
The Mt. Vernon Democrat says new construction or renovations could include better heating and cooling systems, efficient lighting and asbestos removal. "It’s great academically for kids and for their health. It’s great for the teachers. It’s great for the environment of the school as well as the environment around the school," Loebsack said.
Although the bill passed the House this week, it’s unclear whether it will become law. The Senate rejected similar legislation last year and then removed it from the stimulus bill as part of a compromise. Loebsack says he believes the measure would do more than just improve school buildings.
"I think by creating world class school facilities, we will boost student achievement, enhance teacher’s effectiveness, generate saving for schools and create good jobs for Americans – including Iowans who are desperately looking for work," Loebsack said. According to Loebsack, nearly 80-percent of Iowa’s schools report the need to update their infrastructure.
Stephanie Phillips is the Principal of Elizabeth Tate High School in Iowa City. She says her school is an example of how energy efficient buildings create multiple advantages. "We know that building green schools is the right thing to do environmentally and financially and we’ve really reduced our dependency on electric lighting with our green schools," Phillips said.
She says the school’s natural lighting makes students more comfortable and she claims that improves student achievement.